dominic o’sullivan on democracy, power and indigeneity


Dominic O’Sullivan, ‘Democracy, Power and Indigeneity’, Australian Journal of Politics & History 57, 1 (2011)

This article identifies a theoretical nexus between indigeneity and liberal democracy in three post-colonial contexts. Like democracy, the politics of indigeneity asks questions and makes assumptions about where power ought to lie and how it ought to be shared in relation to political inclusion and national sovereignty. The interaction of indigeneity with democracy highlights the limitations of liberal theory as well as the opportunities it provides to meet indigenous claims and conceptions of justice. Exploring the ideological tensions and commonalities between democracy and indigeneity allows a contrast, in comparative context, of the proposition that in Fiji, for example, democracy is “a foreign flower” unsuited to the local environment with the argument that liberal representative democracy can, in fact, mediate power in favour of an inclusive national polity.

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